Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Music of the Year + 3 that Got Away

I bought maybe three or four records this year. Two of them from this year. I did get a few freebies and all, but most were ep's or downloads that I only listened to a few times before I lost the copies (which is easy to do in a year when you lose two computers and gain another two...). And although I enjoyed GirlTalk, I'm not drawn into it.

1) Al Green Lay It Down
The Good Rev's return to Stax-sounding soul could be seen as a gimmick, like when modern divas "collaborated" with old dead men or when old classics made "duets" records with present day B-grade stars. But, for the time being, it just feels so right, it's got to be good:

(FWIW, these vids suck - sorry. In this case, the recent concert vids featuring Al suck even more, so I decided not to give my readers a case of motion-sickness and opt for max audio q)

2) She & Him Volume One
After awhile, I think I grew weary of the neo-hipster country ("More slide guitar!" can never replace "More cowbell!"), but there are some wonderful songs on this disc that made me smile. I'm a definite sucker for that wall-of-sound pure pop that made a brief appearance in Arcade Fire's Funeral but then overcame some bighaired girl's record. Here, there is just the right amount and plenty of variety (at least the first several songs, including the Roy Orbison-esque "I Was Made for You"):

Honorable mentions:
I don't have these records... ladies. Or, yet. But I will soon; and when I do, it's over...

Sam Phillips Don't Do Anything
I love her leathery voice. And her penchant for writing poetic yet acidic verse on top of sparse but Beatles-esque pop melodies is unmatched. So, why haven't I bought anything new from her since that Martinis and Bikinis cassette in the mid-90's? Because this album wasn't released until this year, that's why. And here, her skills seem to be in top form.

TV on the Radio Dear Science
I loved the last album so much that I named it my favorite record of the year (actually, it was top 6. But looking back, it may be top 2 or so). And that's when I was able to buy music and a lot of wonderful stuff came out. This one seems to add hip-hop as well as hip-hop optimism. It's like their angry, muted Stax horns are being shared by PM Dawn. And I ain't complainin':

Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
This is the type of quiet, introspective music that I could probably only listen to after some intense TVotR, but nevertheless, I'm getting old and this is just sounding more and more palatable to my ears. But then again, I can stand some falsettos occasionally. It's been rated high enough by enough trusted ears where I'm giving it some more listens and may take the plunge soon enough.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Visited States Map

[EDIT] h/t to Arachnerd
Click here for your own map.

I'm a loser. I admit it. Most of these states were fly-bys (often at speeds exceeding what I'd feel comfy driving at now). But still, these are the - admittedly Midwestern-centric - states that I've visited or at least drove through (if they're on the East Coast, I most likely just drove through them with the exceptions of Georgia and, overnight once a piece, Virginia and New York).

Caveat lector: I'm not sure how Louisiana ended up on this map. I don't think I was any part of any hurricane rescue...

Weekend Links We Like to Link to - Bah hamburglar

1) Because me Spanish is no so good (and yours may need a little workout too):

Click here if vid isn't working.
and, yes, it's very similar to the wonderful First and Second Semester Spanish Spanish Love Songs. Which is why it's so wonderful.

2) Thanks to astute (Micah's World) reader Reg, I now know that my high school students did not have the most interesting names in the world - but they just might if backers of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez get their way. There was a bill being sent through the National Assembly earlier this month, according to the Times, that would make a list of registered children's names and pare that list down to one hundred. So, no more Tutankamen del Sol, Kleiderman Jesús, Yureimi Klaymar, Yusneidi Alicia, Yusmary Shuain, Kleiderson Klarth and Yusmery Sailing.
So long, Hengelberth, Maolenin, Kerbert Krishnamerk, Githanjaly, Yornaichel, Nixon and Yurbiladyberth.

Was that kid's name Mao Lenin? And another was named Nixon? What's next, a Ronald Reagan, maybe a few Hitlers? ohh, nevermind...

3) OK, this is transcendent wonderment. The octogenarian rock & roll choir Young@Heart performing "Purple Haze." The performers seem to take these songs to be both tongue-in-cheek and fun, but yet it's all so touching and real. Really real. Every. Last. Word. Of it.

Again, click here if vid doesn't play.

fwiw, in honor of the couple who came by for dinner last night, I wanted to play one of the two musical geniuses that came out of Seattle. And out of those two, Hendrix beats Cobain in my book most nights. But I just saw this clip the other day and thought it to be a wonderful confluence of art and life. So, there you go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baby Urban Outfitters Model?

Note the dispassionate, detached look, the post-ironic koala shirt and vintage sweater, the black skinny-pants and the sparkly shoes. I think we have a toddler hipster on our hands.

My question: if one is posing as a member of a group that is made up of self-aware poseurs, doesn't that automatically make one an authentic member of that group?

In other words, does Joss get a pass to subscribe to Paper and argue about hipster bands that are so new they don't even exist yet? PBR is out of the question, as is American Apparel, but PB&J and the Cool Kids are okay, right?

Friday, December 12, 2008

News of the Weird - In Hizzoner

In honor of the dishonored, here comes a two-fer:
Voters in tiny Sodaville, Oregon, population 290, elected Thomas Brady Harrington, 33, mayor in November, despite a criminal rap sheet that included robbery, eluding a police officer, illegal firearms possession, reckless endangerment, and assorted other charges. One resident trying t explain the outcome suggested that voters might have confused Harrington with his father , local businessman Thomas L. Harrington.
By the way, according to the Lebanon-Express, he took on the incumbent mayor and whooped her behind! A whopping 79-66 votes. Yes, it does make Wasilla look still silly, but still... read on.
Further news from the Express details that Harrington became interested in local politics when he found out that a previous city recorder embezzled $30,000.*

In Massachusetts in November, a Suffolk County judge turned down a compensation claim by Robert Aldrich, described by prosecutors as a career criminal, for income lost during "wrongful" incarceration after he'd been illegally arrested for burglary. The judge said she'd been able to find any "income" Aldrich migh have earned during his six months in jail aside from home-improvement work he admittedly kept "off the books" to avoid paying taxes, but a prosecution spokesman summed it up more bluntly: "The defendant is a career B & E (breaking and entering) man seeking compensation for burglaries he couldn't commit while locked up."

According to The Boston Globe, Aldrich the judge may have allowed Mr. Aldrich to make some collection on his "lost" under-the-table dealings, if she had believed that he was making as much as he was claiming. The problem may have been, however, that Aldrich was claiming $4000 per month for a total of sixty-seven thousand dollars. Furthermore, although previous judges had ruled his arrest as 'wrong', she looked over the evidence in the cases provided and had no doubt that he had committed the burglaries.

via Chuck Shepherd in "News of the Weird" from Chicago Reader, December 11, 2008 edition, p. 79. (btw, notice how in previous editions of my NotW I would list the page around 100? 88 pages total, this time. Papers are shrinking...)

*The faux-journalist in me says that I should report that he didn't mean it that way, that he seems troubled by the ineptitude of the council and how it has not been looking for solutions for its monies- or water-shortages. But if you want that, that's why we give you the source...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Blag-Head!

Bla-Lego-vich is courtesy of spydrz (via Twitter)

Facebook status updates on our dear (ex-? One can hope) gov.

Jason Ol' Rod, we hardly knew ye good side:
omg, he was going to use his appointing leverage to get himself a seat in obama's cabinet - as secretary of health and human services! - or as a high-ranking union official for a union-backed candidate, according to the trib.,0,4785755.story

he also, according to the suit & trib, sought to have trib editors fired in exchange for state backing of trib sellings - incl. wrigley field.

i mean, of all the things to soil wrigley w/ (as if frats, gawkers, bad baseball, broken promises, and boatloads of cheap, warm beer weren't enough), this just takes the poop-cake!

Will he be able to appoint a Senator from his jail cell? And will the Senate seat said appointee? It'll be interesting to see what goes down...

i think that that power is just so wrong in the first place. nobody trusted g-rod w/ that appointment in the first place. but i don't think anybody actually thought... jeepers.

as my wife said, here's to hoping mayor daley follows his accomplice du' nincompoopse.

That's a good one!

Maybe there's something in the water supply in Springfield...

Jason Dye:
here's the kicker: neither daley, obama nor blags are in the least bit 'friends', but they all live in separate neighborhoods in chicago. i think the last gov (ryan) lived in springy.

here's another thing, daley (like his father) wields a LOT of power, but he's got his machine wielded too tightly to get taken down (at least from where i sit. definitely not by anyone in chicago). he's been tied to one fed-exposed scheme conspiracy after another, but he makes reagan look like velcro. he gets away scot-free every time.

obama's shrewd enough to distance himself (for the most part) from any of these feuds / power-plays. mccain tried to make those associations stick but they couldn't.

g-rod, otoh, was just shrewd enough to get himself elected (based on, of course, good ol' illinois nepotism - that he turned his back on!), but built too many enemies to stay politically viable for long w/o sinking. which is prob why he tried so hard to leverage that appointment...


KS's wondering if Rod will get his hair cut....

Jason Dye:
what a set-up, k---. ok, here goes:

Jason Dye:
only if they could exterminate the bees out first.

Jason Dye:
next preferred style for blagosjovic: corn-rows.

after airing the infamous clip of blags from monday where he says, "I have nothing to hide," john stewart says, "except what is on my forehead. my guess is, it says, 'bribe me.'"

in prison, he'll still carry on his political-given nickname, only amended. cell-mates will be heard saying, "that's G-Rod, Bruno's Be-otch."

You have way too much free time ;)

i wish. i thought of those during my semi-weekly shower.

but, if you so desire, i'll supply more after i cool down from this craaazy week.


CD would like to know what's going on with our Illinios governors, are they not paying you enough ?

I didn't know we had more than one governor.
Unless you referring to the multiple personalities of G-Rod.

no I was referring to our previous governor that was caught selling cdl's

ah yes . . .

Jason Dye:
yeah, seriously, though. i wonder how blaggy kept on complaining that he needed more money and how he came to be in such financial constraints that he would ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE TAPED TRYING TO EXTORT BRIBES...

i mean, besides the fact that he's a big dummy.

fwiw, ryan got the bribes while he was secretary of state. tried to cover it up while gov.

regardless of that fact, I hate that b'cuz you rose to those ranks does not give you the right to be corrupt while us ppl on bottom are starving

I hope O'bama does something bout corruptness in our gov't I really hold that mainly responsible for the economy
yep, and he rose through the ranks by marrying a powerful state rep's daughter. and then he back-stabbed that whole family as soon as he got in office!

well thats our govt for you


AS can't believe the mockery of goverment in IL.

Jason Dye:
hey, so do you think our next guv will bring up our education status so that we're 48th out of 50? or just get arrested?

I think we should declare his residence in Chicago as the new Governors mansion, and when he is booted out of office - declare eminent domain, and take it :D

Oh, and he is a tool who steals our money

WVK is proud Illinois is living up to its reputation.


Tell me about it

Yay for Pat Fitzgerald, for exposing all this. The message--that outrageous corruption is not accepted as status quo--actually fills me with hope.

continuing our long, proud tradition of gubernatorial convicts beginning w/ bugsy malone, al capone and johnny cash.

wow...who knew?!

(please note intended sarcasm :) )

This is pretty low. I hope Illinois doesn't have the potential to go any lower....but I have my doubts.

What a mess!!!


AT is yet again amazed by Patrick Fitzgerald's cojones, and hopes Obama does not replace him.

fitz is THE MAN!

i would not wanna get on his bad side. i wouldn't want him running for office, becoming mayor or gov or even AG. but, for what he's set up to do, he's the best.


And finally, the first person to comment on this story in my facebookiverse, my wife:

JFD hopes Daley follows G-Rod to his happy place.

are there puppies and kittens and rainbows and sunshine in the happy place?

Preach it.


Jason Dye:
let's hope so, babes. although i fear daley's too shrewd.

i hope not. but then again, blago does strike me a as a bit odd...

i wonder how many more secrets are hiding in his hair...

i'm very curious what daley and roderick are up to, since i'm not in chicago and haven't seen chicago news for a while.

MR: What are they up to? They are up to no good. As usual.

well, yeah ... that's a given. and i love how they've retained their offices (probably through the cemetery vote).

i don't know how/why rod got his 2nd term. but richie's got his machine pulling all the right strings. it'd be a beautiful symphony if they were playing the right tune.

I now understand why people don't regularly blog their facebook status updates. Re-formatting was a not-nice piece-o'-work --- so I didn't even finish.